Music Mondays – Payphone

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I actually remember using a pay phone

I actually chose this song not for the message within the song, but for the title of the song itself. It cracks me up that they use a payphone as the centerpiece. Can anyone even tell me where the nearest functioning payphone is located within a 5 mile radius of where you live? I often wonder how many people under 30 really know what a payphone is and if they have ever used one. I can in fact say yes to both of these questions. I remember going to the mall when I was 12 and having to find a payphone to call my mom and let her know what bus I was going to be on to get home. When I was in high school, cell phone usage was almost non-existent. I didn’t have a single friend who owned one. The only time we spoke was via our home phones and instead of texting during the day we passed notes.

Now cell phones eat into our budgets

The interesting thing is that the days of payphones actually helped keep us financially fit. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, the average family spends around $100 a month for their cell phone usage. In addition to just the basic usage (i.e. minutes, data, and texts), we also spend money on apps and games. I think I spent $10 last month on Candy Crush alone. I picked this song to make us stop and think about our cell phone usage.  Is your cell phone a problem area for you? How frequently do you scrutinize your bill? Are you paying for minutes or texts that you don’t need? How do you manage data charges? Your app purchases? A payphone was very easy to understand. Posted directly on the phone were the charges for calls or instructions on how to make collect or operator calls. My cell phone bill is 20 pages front and back. How long is yours?

I think we all fall under the misconception that our cell phone costs are a necessary evil, and we can’t avoid the costs that we are paying. I challenge you this week to pull out your cell phone bills from the last few months and do an in-depth analysis of what you are paying for and why. I bet you will find wasted money or areas where you can save going forward. In a 20 page bill, there has to be excess money to be found! Can you commit to a month or two of no new app purchases? Can you cut back the amount of data you are consuming? If your average cell phone bill is $100, and you can find $10 a month in savings, you’ve saved 10%, or $120 in a year.

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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